Improving graduation rates for African Americans in drug court: Importance of human relationships and barriers to gaining and sustaining employment

Below is recent research by John Robert Gallagher, Anne Nordberg & Alyssa R. Dibley titled, Improving graduation rates for African Americans in drug court: Importance of human relationships and barriers to gaining and sustaining employment.

Abstract: Drug courts have been an important part of the criminal justice system since 1989. They continue to expand throughout the United States because nearly three decades of research has shown that they are more effective than other interventions, such as traditional probation. There is a pattern, though, in some drug courts where African Americans are less likely to graduate than their Caucasian counterparts. This qualitative study explores this phenomenon by asking African American participants (n = 31) their views on the most helpful aspects of drug court and how drug court could be more helpful in supporting them in graduating the program. Participants felt that the respect and compassion they received from the drug court judge and their case managers, as well as the camaraderie they developed with other participants, was an aspect of drug court that supported them in graduating the program. Next, participants felt that graduation rates would improve if drug court better supported them in gaining employment or sustaining the employment they already had. Implications for drug court practice are discussed.

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